Subsistence intensification, innovation and change have long figured prominently in explanations for the development of social complexity among foragers and horticulturalists, and the rise of chiefly societies and archaic states, yet there is considerable debate over the actual mechanisms that promote these processes.
Traditional approaches to the "intensification question" emphasize population pressure, climate change, bureaucratic management, or even land degradation as prerequisites for the onset of new or changing strategies, or the construction and maintenance of agricultural landscapes. Most often these factors are modeled as external forces outside the realm of human decision-making, but recent archaeological research presents an alternative to this suggesting that subsistence intensification is the result of human driven strategies for power, prestige and status stemming from internal conditions within a group. When responding to environmental adversity, human groups were less frequently the victims, as they have been repeatedly portrayed. Instead human groups were often vigorous actors, responding with resilience, ingenuity, and planning, to flourish or survive within dynamic and sometimes unpredictable social and natural milieux
Preface.- Seeking Richer Harvests: An Introduction to the Archaeology of Subsistence Intensification, Innovation and Change.- Classic Period Agricultural Intensification and Domestic Life at El Palmillo, Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico.- The Wet or the Dry?: Agricultural Intensification in the Maya Lowlands.- Agricultural Intensification in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin: Landesque capital as statecraft.- Chinampa Cultivation in the Basin of Mexico: Observations on the Evolution of Form and Function.- Agricultural Intensification in the Titicaca Basin.- Animal Intensification at Neolithic Gritille.- Infields, Outfields, and Broken Lands: Agricultural Intensification and the Ordering of Space During Danish State Formation.- Cod Fish, Walrus, and Chieftains: Economic Intensification in the Norse North Atlantic.- Intensification and Protohistorica Agropastoral Systems in East Africa.- Rethinking Intensification: Power Relations and Scales of Analysis in Precolonial South India.- Intensification, Innovation and Change: New Perspectives and Future Direction.